Athletics welcome Mariners to town
The Oakland Athletics look to gain some more ground in the American League West on Monday when they welcome the Seattle Mariners to O.co Coliseum for the opener of a three-game set.
Oakland is 3-3 on its nine-game homestand after taking two of three from Cleveland over the weekend. The A's are currently just a half-game behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, who lost two of three to Seattle over the weekend.
Chris Young homered and made a spectacular catch in center field to help secure Sunday's 7-3 win for Oakland. Alberto Callaspo also went deep, while Josh Donaldson drove in three runs in the victory.
"That's always nice when you get contributions all over," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I think there are some guys who have the ability to carry a team. We saw it last year. We're not getting that much going this year, but I think if we get a couple of these guys revved up -- Yoenis (Cespedes) is recently and (Josh) Reddick is swinging the bat a little better recently -- we don't have to rely on the whole lineup."
Meanwhile, the Mariners went into Texas this weekend and won two of three against the Rangers, including Sunday's 4-3 victory. Texas rallied back from three separate one-run deficits until Seattle's Kyle Seager delivered a two- out RBI double off Joe Nathan in the ninth inning to secure the outcome.
Seager also homered on Saturday and hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning of Friday's 3-1 win.
"You know what?" said Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson. "This isn't a knock on anybody else, but when the game is on the line like that, it's Kyle Seager. I don't care whether he's coming out of a slump or not. He is a battler up there. He went down and got that ball. He's a gritty grinder, a battler up there. He knows how to battle with two strikes."
Aaron Harang will try to snap out of his recent funk when he takes the hill for Seattle on Monday. The veteran right-hander has posted an 8.07 ERA across his past six starts. Most recently, he gave up three runs on seven hits over five innings against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, as he came away with a no- decision. Most of that damage came in the sixth inning when Harang said his right forearm began to tighten.
"He had a little tightness in the forearm and he's been getting treatment on it," Thompson said. "They hit it pretty hard in the training room the next day and I think he should be fine."
Few, if any, pitchers are currently as hot as Oakland's Jarrod Parker, who is unbeaten in his past 14 starts and will toe the rubber in Monday's series opener. He boasts a 2.75 ERA in that span, having held opponents to a .199 batting average. However, he has also collected only six wins in those 14 starts, as the offense has failed to score consistently with Parker on the mound.
He went 8 1/3 innings against Houston on Wednesday and allowed only one run, but the Astros went on to claim a 2-1 victory in extra innings.
"You pitch like that and you get that deep into the game and only give up one run," Melvin said. "You're going to win that game a lot more times than not."
Seattle has the edge in the head-to-head series with Oakland this season, as the M's have won eight of the 13 meetings.